Turning Coal Mines into Farms


(pigs squealing) – When I was in the coal industry, it was feast or famine. Everything’s going great since they’ve shut down. I’ve got some eggs, man. Yeah, I went from working in a coal mine, blowing up
the mountains, and now I’m planting stuff on top of it, you know? Reclaiming it back. (violin music) (piano music) My name is Chris Farley, and I’m a farmer for Refresh Appalachia. (sheep bleating) It’s okay, buddy. Refresh Appalachia has
come to these abandoned surface mines and we’re turning them into active agriculture, farms. This one will probably get
to be about five feet tall. Everything you see here was once an active coal mine. What are you doing buddy? Ay-yay-yay. – And the way I like to do it is just kinda step on it and wiggle it. – [Chris] And almost everybody that works for Refresh Appalachia was a laid-off coal miner. We have chickens that fertilize the soil. We have goats that eat the tops off the bushes. And we have the hogs that come
in and they’re like a plow. They tear up all the rocks and the soil and get it ready for plantin’. (orchestra music) This soil is so tough,
we have to use pick axes, slate bars, just try to break it up. It’s tough. Perfect. I started in the coal mines
right outta high school. (guitar music) I just followed in my father’s footsteps. I used to work on the surface mines, for over 11 years, similar
to what you see back here. The first six years was good, and after that it was every six months to a year I’d get laid off. Times were real tough. Garden looks good. How much rain have you had down here? My grandmother and grandfather had a farm their whole life. They went through the Great Depression. A picture of my grandpa. They didn’t struggle at all, because they had their own farm. Hey Gran, how was the
sweet potatoes this year? – Last year they were really good. – My grandma, she’s old
but she’s taught me a lot about gardening, and that’s
something I’ve growed [sic] up loving. Yeah, I started out farming, went into the coal mines, now I’m back to farming, back to my roots. We’ll have this bunch come in first, and then this bunch will come in. If I had an offer to go back
into the coal mines right now, I definitely wouldn’t take it. I’m hoping that we can have
the strip jobs workin’, and we can come behind them, plantin’, like we’re doing right now. There’s opportunity there. We can work together, and make it happen. (guitar music)

51 thoughts on “Turning Coal Mines into Farms

  1. This doesn't really seem like a good idea because of the poisoning of the soil and rivers from the
    Mountain strip mining.

  2. Damn! It's better than eny movie or series! concisely and beautiful at the same time.

  3. Wouldn't it be great if all the coal miners in America who will eventually be laid off were trained in different areas LIKE farming? A part of America's infrastucture gets built upon AND those coal miners have a new job with similar skills that contributes to local farming, local produce AND would give the country more produce to sell abroad. That honestly sounds amazing! As a UK citizen, I would love for the UK to utilize more people in the country to work on farms as a job (as an example) and help open up more doors for our own economy again. If America did the same it could be an awesome feat of self sustainment competing alongside the ever growing modern globalization that we live in. More countries would have their own produce to sell and it would be beneficial for absolutely everybody!!!!!

  4. this really shows the utmost strength and perseverance of the 'tough' (coal mine) guys are–nothing could put them down. they fight, adapt and prosper despite all odds against them. hats off to their fighting spirits.

  5. Why exactly am I being FORCED to watch this 3-minute BS ad when I am watching my youtube videos? It cannot even be fast-forwarded. Keep your d*mn coal mines to yourself, don't order these intrusive ads from youtube.

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  7. I love these stories as I know people from Apallachia need the money and food from such a project and the environment needs to heal. Win/Win situation.

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